Evidence Shows that Plants Really Do “Talk” to Each Other


In Delaware, a curious high school teenager teamed up with University of Delaware botanists to see if they can prove that plants communicate to each other. Using mustard weed plants for their testing, they found that when one plant had leaves nicked or cut, similar to a pest eating a leaf, the plant located near it developed deeper and stronger roots even though it wasn’t touched. They found that the unharmed plants near the injured plant had higher levels of auxin, an important growth hormone. The unharmed plants also attracted more microbes and nutrients in the soil to their roots when there was an injured plant nearby, further proving that the injured plant is sending warning signals to nearby plants of a coming threat. Their next step in research is to find out how the injured plant is sending these signals via airborne chemical compounds.